Originally Written Fall 2015. When a relationship ends the healthy thing to do is to take time to process your feelings, what went wrong, what went right and what you can learn and apply as you move forward. I got my world shaken by a very emotionally intense 5-month relationship that felt like 2 years. We bonded quickly. There are certainly relationship red flags never to ignore and the fast, intense start is one of them.
We got a lot handled in a little bit of time. The aftermath of the break up was incredibly rough for me. Looking back, there were many red flags. I saw them. I ‘d say something but I’d allow my emotions to rule over logic. There were only three men in my life that affected me this way, so it was incredibly profound. I know I fell in love with this man, or at least the one side to him who allowed me to love him.
The entire experience led me to do a 90-Day Post Break Up Detox, which means doing positive productive things intended to strengthen me and make me feel better. The 90 days affords me the time necessary to sift through the damage from what felt like a category 5 emotional tornado. I want healthy love in my life. So I have to do the work. I have to learn. I have to tap into my true self and divine Source. My assessment has led to this list of relationship red flags never to ignore.
Red Flag #1: You were broken when you met.
Law of Attraction is powerful so you must pay attention to whom you are attracting and where you are in your own life when you attract them. I met my ex boyfriend when I had decided my 17-year marriage was over and I would file for divorce. My husband and I were separated for 5 years and I looking back now I was so sad over the finality of it. I was self punishing and sad for wasting 5 years to come to a decision that should have been reached quicker. I was filled with sadness and regret. While I knew the marriage was over a long time ago and I was eager to move on; I was incredibly sad over the whole thing and that sad energy attracted someone even sadder than I.
Red Flag #2: It’s zero to 100 in 4 seconds. Things move fast.
I made the first move and he courted me exactly the way I love to be courted. He was all in. He was inserting himself into my life and showing me he wanted to be around me as much as possible. I loved it! It’s exactly the way I like to be courted and no one in my 5 years of being separated from my husband has ever come at me in this way. My ex-boyfriend proceeded to see me every day for the first 30 days of our relationship. It was intense and fun! There was affection and gifts. He was thoughtful and 100% committed to having something with me. It was in a word… perfect! I thought he was a blessing; that God sent him to me because I was so sad for so long and when I decided to divorce, the Universe responded by bringing me this wonderful man. He is a gentleman, charming, and despite not the typical “type” I’d go for; with each passing day, I found him sexier and sexier. I remember him asking me if I felt smothered and if he was “too much.” I’d smile and say, “nope, I’m grateful for how you’re treating me and am blessed to have found a man who gets me.”
I also did say that I was concerned that he was transferring emotions from his ex onto me and that it was a bit of a whirlwind that I feared would fizzle out. He quickly assured me that he just wants to love and be loved and with me it was easy, no drama, just joy and more than anything he wanted peace. He said that he was attracted to me physically, but that he valued my mind and my attitude was infectious. He said I make him want to be a better man and that he wanted a woman he can banter with and laugh with who wasn’t looking for arguments, wasn’t hyper-critical, controlling and didn’t thrive on conflict. He made it seem like his ex-girlfriend and his ex-wife were these terrible people who profoundly hurt him. I listened to every word he said empathetically. He was hurt and he made certain choices that hurt him but his unwillingness to forgive himself or these women never really sat well with me. I would tell him he has to reach forgiveness and then he will be free. I’d explain that forgiveness doesn’t condone what was done. Forgiveness is just accepting that it happened and a way to free you from it.
By the second week of dating he asked me to go on vacation with him to Cancun. I normally would never say yes to a trip so soon. I’d allow the usual 90 days to see if the relationship is something I truly want. Vacations are kind of a big deal. I knew this. Yet, based on the fact that he saw me every day for the past two weeks, I felt momentum would lead us to grow even closer leading up to the trip, which is exactly what happened. Typically, I’d size up a relationship that wasn’t fulfilling my needs really fast, and within 2 dates if the pursuit wasn’t there, I’d swiftly move on. I don’t chase anyone. I express interest and allow a man to pursue me. The more he pursues, the more interest I show. The more we click, the more I reveal. With him it was easy to share all sorts of stuff about my upbringing, my life leading up to my present. He was making daily effort to see me and I loved it! The problem was that there was an undercurrent of sadness that we were burying with the emotional love drug we were dealing one another. We were hurting and needed to feel love, plain and simple; which leads to…
Red Flag #3: The too soon I love you.
Two weeks in, I’m lying in his bed chilling out, he’s giving me a foot massage and we’re talking. He’d ask me all these questions and with each question I’d reveal more truths and I felt our bond growing stronger. Our conversation was always so rich and honest. He turned to me and says, “it’s got to be obvious to you that I’m falling in love with you.” I asked skeptically, “really? You are? You already know this for sure?” He told me what he felt with me is different and for the first time in a very very long time he feels calm and peaceful. “Tranquillo” was the word used which means calm in Spanish. He said I have a way about me that is so positive and genuine. I told him, I would never lie, I’d never, ever cheat or betray him, and I’d never disrespect him or speak unkindly and harshly. I wasn’t ready to say I love you at this point yet I knew he was certainly a man I could fall in love with. It was only two weeks in, and I needed to get there in my time. After he said what he said, from that point on whenever we were in our little “bubble” out to dinner, or just hanging out talking, he’d look at me adoringly and say “te amo” and “I love you” as he flooded me with compliments filling my heart.
I believed I was worthy of love. I had love to give! Why doubt this wonderful man? I would ask him, “babe you think you love me, how can you be so sure, like how do you really know?” He’d say, “you know like you know about a good melon. You just know.” This answer was sweet yet vague so I said ok, enough words. Watch the actions. True love resides in actions. My rational me was always there hovering, thinking I really need to be careful. My emotional me was feeling and not thinking at all. My “I love you” came a few weeks after. We were lying in bed, clothes on, just chilling out after a dinner, talking and he said the very right thing at the very right time, and I responded with “I love you.” He looked at me pleasantly surprised. I remember saying, “babe, love is a verb, we choose to love, and I love you.” Just like that I shifted, I fell.
Red Flag #4: The obsession with the past and unfinished business with the ex.
Our relationship had three people in it: him, his ex-girlfriend, and me. Within the first few weeks of the relationship she had caught wind that he was seeing me and that we were going away together. I guess she came at him pissed off wondering how he could just move on with me so fast. I now find myself totally relating to her for reasons that will be revealed later. I was told the relationship was unraveling for a few months and that it officially ended two months prior in early March when she packed her stuff and left. He explained there was a dark time where all he did was work and sit in his apartment alone and ride his motorcycle and bike. He explained there was post break up fall out that lingered but then she sent a final email basically telling him to move on with his life. That was late April and two weeks after that letter as he put it, ended things for good, we got together.
Again, law of attraction and huge energy led to manifestation. He made it seem as if she saw he was moving on with me, became livid and was in hot pursuit, even had her brother calling him. He told me he met with her mom to handle some legal matters that he was helping her with (he’s a lawyer) and that her own mom said she was a very complicated, dramatic, woman who wasn’t very tapped into a softer side. I thought it was odd that a mom would speak of her daughter this way but he assured me that he had a good relationship with her family and they really liked him.
The days leading up to our Cancun trip were exciting highs with dramatic lows. It rattled me. I wasn’t used to this up and down. I remember the day before we were leaving; he calls me and tells me he doesn’t know what to do in light of all the ex-girlfriend drama. He asked me what I thought because I was the most certain person he knows. All I had to go on was what he told me. I asked him, “babe do you want to be with her?” He quickly said, “no.”
Then I said something very sad yet very telling of my gut instinct. I said, “babe honestly, I have all of my clothes laid out on my bed, I haven’t put them in my carry on yet because I just felt something was up. The whole ex-girlfriend in hot pursuit doesn’t sit well with me at all.” I reminded him that I have this code that I don’t compete and when there’s a lingering ex, I gracefully make my exit.
I told him I was going to the beach and that I needed to think. As I arrived at the beach, he called me and asked me to meet him back at my apartment. I rode my bike back home and had no idea what to expect. I was only one month in at this point so if it ended it would have been a major disappointment, but not at the level that it was after 5 months. Someone let him into my apartment building so there was a knock on my door. When I opened it I thought for a split second this could go either way. Either I’m packing for Cancun, or we’re over.
Problem was I left it to him. That decision should have been mine. I wasn’t strong enough and it hurt me in the long run. He said he was sorry and kissed me. He took my face in his hands and said he wants light in his life and that I bring him that. We talked it through. He put me at ease. I felt secure again. I packed my bag and the next day we were off to Mexico. It was amazing! We fell deeper in love there.
Red Flag #5: The battle with depression.
Traumatic things happen to people in life. People choose to cope in a way that helps them survive but it’s not necessarily the healthiest way. In his case based on his detailed and thorough description of his past, it was truly as if he was still living in it. It must have been so hard for him to be with me. I’m a forward thinker. I don’t linger in my past at all. He must have been so exhausted trying to convince himself he was at peace with his past and moving towards the “pretty” life and future we talked about building together.
He’d try to bring me back to my past with questions about my ex-husband and different hypotheticals. I’d answer truthfully. “Babe, yeah, stuff happened, it’s in my past! My future with you interests me more than a past I can’t do anything about except to make peace with it.” This was how I spoke to him and he felt like I was turning him on to new thinking. I can see it in his face that wheels were turning in his mind. He told me he hated the word “happy.” Yet he said with me he feels happy and peaceful. We had ease. In between the lows it was great love and great ease. We both felt it.
When we returned from Cancun he caught a cold so I made him soup and brought it over to him. He told me that when he fell ill in the past, he was made to feel being sick was weak. He would retreat and re-emerge when he was better. I explained that I’m from New York so all we do up there is battle colds. Being sick is a part of life in the north so you care for each other, make soup, watch movies and be miserable sniffling, together.
I explained I never ditched my ex-husband when he was sick. He never ditched me. We took care of each other. It’s called loyalty and treating someone you love kindly when they are sick and miserable. He described himself as a broken man who gave of himself, provided for everyone but was left to fend for himself especially emotionally. I’m so sensitive that I’d get so sad for him that I’d literally tear up. I’d just assure him and say, “my love, I’d never just ditch you. You’re wonderful and kind.”
There were a few swirls that remain vivid in my mind. One was on July 4th when his daughter sent a text with a picture of she, her sister along with his ex-wife on a boat in the Hamptons. He showed me the picture and I said, “ooh how nice, they all look pretty.” The picture set him off. We were supposed to be together the whole weekend. He brought clothes to stay with me and he tells me, “babe, I’m going to dip.”
We were having fun. I didn’t understand why he’d want to leave in the middle of our weekend. I cried! I felt terribly. At this point I didn’t understand what was going on. How could that picture send him off into this mental spiral? He’s here with me! Aren’t I enough? We’re having so much fun and just like that he can leave a fun, positive time to go sit and ruminate about his past. Why would anyone willingly do this? What’s the win in this?
We’d be great and on top of the world totally in love with, rich, nourishing discussion. I met his eldest daughter who is an absolute doll. He and I would spend time together at the beach and just low key hanging out. There was great love there but then, every week or two; there would be a trigger. Eventually triggers led to thoughts of his ex girlfriend. I told him I couldn’t continue like this and would remind him that he deserves a life of joy!
I’d tell him he has two choices, his past which is done, or a future he has control of. He’d tell me he and his ex would speak and the conversation would get negative real fast. He vowed to me that he would not communicate with her anymore. I come to learn he lied and went against this promise. It was as if all he knew was conflict and struggle in relationships and I was the opposite of that. It scared him. In the end, he described his curiosity for his ex girlfriend as an addict seeking a hit of his numbing drug.
Red flag #6: It’s as if you are with two different people who are constantly at odds with one another.
By the third month the intensity level was high. We were in love and talking about a future together. This is how great the high points were. We formed a friendship. He would say, “babe I feel we’re getting tighter, It’s pretty.” We genuinely liked each other as people. When he’d swirl I’d go to him, I’d listen and ask questions to get a sense for what he was feeling. When he was lost in a swirl I felt I had to allow some space for him to sort it out but then he agreed, after 24 hours I’m going in to get him. I did this with zero regard for my own well-being. I just gave.
I had no idea how all of that was impacting me. He never got into details about what his thoughts were because he said he was protecting me. I never wanted to pry nor did I want to demand knowing what he was thinking about. I just didn’t want to push. I always wanted to be kind and loving. I would just remind him that he was sucked into a painful past memory and it was ok and that we are together now and happy. One time he did disclose that he thought of his ex-girlfriend and the arguing. He would often describe the night she was furious with him and started packing her stuff and left and he was sitting in his living room just watching her walk out. He would tell me that he’d think back to their fights and I would ask him why does he think of horrible things? It was as if he’d put himself back there.
I told him I felt I was he was two people and started to refer to the positive, loving guy who I love and believe still loves me as “Clear” and then the other destructive person that exists within him as “Saboteur.” Saboteur would step in every time we progressed further. The Clearer he felt, the more solid we’d get and Saboteur wasn’t having it. Saboteur only knows pain and doesn’t trust anything good and easy and calming. The more Clear said he loved me, made plans with me to meet my family, talked about a future together filled with love and joy, the more Saboteur would hit him with his weakness –thoughts of guilt and confusion over his ex-girlfriend.
Clear was frustrated by this. He felt it was harmful to me and unfair. The final straw came when Clear introduced me to his parents. At this point I can tell his facial expressions. I knew when I was looking at Clear versus Saboteur. He was slipping from the moment he picked me up. We were at his parent’s house and I’m talking to his mom and I notice he’s totally checked out. He’s on his phone playing solitaire, reading news maybe texting his ex, who knows at this point. After lunch with his parents, he comes back to my place and we’re watching football. I can tell he’s slipping away more and more. He leaves my place, welcomes a trigger and yet again is consumed with thoughts of his ex. His parents liked me a lot. All was well. Saboteur wasn’t having that.
Red Flag #7: Your body is talking to you! Pay attention.
I ignored what my body was saying because I had gone off my birth control pill after my doctor said at 44; I shouldn’t be on it anymore. The boyfriend is 51 and had a vasectomy so in my mind I figured it was a sign from the universe telling me, no more pill. Who knows, this could have been the purpose of this entire relationship, saving me from a brain aneurysm. The universe works to serve us so anything is possible.
I figured the stress of my divorce and going off the pill is what led to my cervix shutting and consistent breakouts. My skin was stressed! It was a physical manifestation of my emotional state of being in an erratic relationship.
I started to do body talk and acupuncture. I started to research the body/mind connection even further through my longtime favorite mentor on the topic, Louise Hay which led to Dr. Joe Dispenza and Abraham Hicks. I shared what I found with my then boyfriend who was rattled after a physical showing his heart and lungs weren’t functioning properly. I remember when he told me about his check up results that I took his hand and started to cry. I looked up at him and said, “babe, your heart is literally broken. You just need so much love.”
In August I became hell bent on getting our health on track. We started eating less red meat. I would share guided meditations with him and we’d even do them together. We’d just lie in bed and let our minds drift into a calm, clear state. It was nice. We bonded over this quest for betterment. It was the way we wanted to live. Healthy!! By September he had booked a trip to NY to meet my family. I was excited for it. But two weeks later was when I met his parents and the mother of all swirls occurred.
I remember how every time he’d tell me he was “swirly” I’d get a physical pang to my stomach. I was either crying or anxious over this relationship every other week. It became too much. My skin continued to break out. My ex-husband who knows me for 24 years saw me and asked me what was up with my skin? He urged me to just be careful.
It is so important that we see the relationship red flags never to ignore. I was so rattled by this relationship. The high point was so high. I believed this man when he said he wanted to be with me for the rest of his life, that with me he learned he can show his true self and not have it be used against him, he could trust and feel truly loved and that he felt like a man!
I know what I offer. Why wouldn’t I believe him for saying he felt great with me? I still know in my gut that he felt great with me. I still know the “Clear” him loves me. Thankfully during our time together he made a decision to handle this once and for all. Initially he was excited to get healthy for himself and us. He decided to get, as he put it “real therapy,” not a pastor or counselor but the real deal.
His therapy started and 3 weeks in, we broke up. He’s got unfinished business to work through. A week after we broke up he sought out his ex-girlfriend. I suspect he was reaching out to her before we had broken up. The whole thing absolutely crushed me and confused me, but I did have these red flags. I’m forever changed. Emotions will NEVER beat out logic again.
I reached out to him since he coldly announced in an email that he was going back to his ex-girlfriend. I never once got a reply. My communication to him was urging him to get healthy and go through the next 6 months to a year alone, to connect with himself by himself, no crutches!! I told him in subsequent communication to think of his heart, his daughters, his unborn grandchildren and the ideal life he described to me.
I told him the only way to fully being Clear with no more swirls is to remove any and all threats of confusion and focus fully on himself. He went from his ex-girlfriend to me and now right back to his ex. This isn’t healthy. He must be so confused. I just worry about his heart. Yeah Saboteur hurt me. I was kicked to the side like I didn’t matter. I fear that sabotaging side to him because I experienced it’s destruction but; I love his Clear side, his “real side” and I can’t just turn that off like a switch. My emotions don’t work that way. I made my last communication to the Clear him. Saboteur doesn’t get access to me ever again. He knows this. I have no interest in keeping a man down. I prefer to elevate myself and anyone I love.
At this point I have to follow my own advice and heal. I must take care of me so that I can attract the healthy, joyous, loving relationship I know I am worthy of. When we returned our belongings early October, we had this beautiful “last supper.” We talked about what we felt for one another and how it was real. He said he wants it to be real all the time without any swirls and that he doesn’t want to be swirly ever again. He asked me to pray for him. I said I absolutely would. I pray for him every day.
Lisa Concepcion, writer, speaker, vlogger and Founder of LoveQuest Coaching™ is a Professional Life Coach specializing in dating, relationships and self-love. Originally from New York now based in Miami, Lisa candidly shares the valuable lessons she learns on her own LoveQuest journey offering online workbooks and video workshops, group workshops, one-on-one sessions, and seminars, to help people attract, give and keep love starting with love of self. Connect with Lisa via her YouTube Channel or by visiting LisaConcepcion.com